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Sweet Smell Of Success [DVD]


Price: £4.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Sweet Smell Of Success [DVD] + The Night of the Hunter [DVD] [1955]
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Product details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis
  • Directors: Alexander Mackendrick
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 15 April 2002
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000634CJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,660 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

DVD Special Features:

Original Theatrical Trailer
Interactive Menu Screens
Chapter Selections
Subtitles: French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Soundtrack: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian
Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English, German

From Amazon.co.uk

A classic from the late 1950s, The Sweet Smell of Success looks at the string-pulling behind-the-scenes action between desperate press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) and the ultimate power broker in that long-ago showbiz Manhattan, gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster).

Written by Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets (who based the Hunsecker character on the similarly brutal and power-mad Walter Winchell), the film follows Falco's attempts to promote a client through Hunsecker's column--until he is forced to make a deal with the devil and help Hunsecker ruin a jazz musician who has the nerve to date Hunsecker's sister.

Shooting on location, mostly at night, director Alexander MacKendrick and cinematographer James Wong Howe capture this New York demi-monde in silky black and white, in which neon and shadows share a scarily symbiotic relationship--a near-match for the poisonous give-and-take between the edgy Curtis and the dismissive Lancaster. --Marshall Fine, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Antony Buonomo on 25 April 2002
Format: DVD
Fifties New York. A few night hours in the life of a parasitic press agent, Sidney Falco (Curtis) and the monster he feeds off, big-time showbiz columnist JJ Hunsecker (Lancaster).
Falco willingly submits to JJ's humiliations because he needs the scraps of publicity JJ deigns to throw Falco's clients in his daily column.
But now JJ needs a favour; will Falco destroy the lives of two innocent people just to stay JJ's favoured pet?
The two leads are brilliant. Curtis is nervous, cynical and strangely beautiful. By turns disgusted at the squalid lapdog he has become and thrilled by the reflected power of JJ.
Lancaster as JJ is as monumental a screen presence as Kane or Kurtz; the ground shakes and the air hums when he gets angry.
The scene where a Senator is paying court to JJ with Falco hovering between revulsion and reverence is near perfect: machine-gun dialogue with each bullet carefully dipped in venom.
You could cut yourself on the sharp black and white night photography and the music adds to the jittery atmosphere.
Sure, some of the lesser characters pale against the screen presence of Lancaster and Curtis, and the plot takes over a bit too much toward the end, but this is a riveting essay on power and self-loathing.
A word about the director: nothing in the prevoius work of Alexander Mackendrick prepares you for this. He directed some equally wonderful but very different films (The Ladykillers, The Man in the White Suit, Whisky Galore! ) and is sadly neglected in some quarters. This a dark and brutal masterpiece.
"Match me, Sidney. "
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 May 2000
Format: VHS Tape
'Sweet Smell of Success'? I doubt it. More like the rancid stench of social climbing and the perversion of good intent. The movie boasts an intensely stylised dialogue, with wonderful performances from Burt Lancaster as JJ Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis as a Hunsecker wannabe. Lancaster is positively reptilian as the all-powerful gossip columnist, whilst Curtis, as the furtive go-getter Sidney attempts to ingratiate himself by despoiling possibly the only loving relationship in the movie, between that of Hunsecker's sister and her jazz guitarist boyfriend. The noirish cinematography and the inspired direction by Brit Alexander MacKendrick, combined with the waspish and highly ornate dialogue make for a potent piece of cinema. The plot twists and the skewed ending of the movie make this a rivetting masterpiece that lingers long after the final credits roll. The sort of film where almost all of the characters have no redeeming qualities, 'Sweet Smell...' is nonetheless one of the truly great movies of the nineteen-fifties.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lou Knee on 13 July 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is noir, but with a little more edge than the classic LA set Chandleresque noirs that are the usual Noir benchmark. This film is set in New York, and because of it the pace and style is less laid back than typical Noirs, but its setting and its story captures the essence perfectly. The Odets screenplay is cynical, worldly and downright memorable, it oozes cool.

The dark b&w photography suits the mood of the picture perfectly and the finest performance of Tony Curtis' career just falls out of him as if he knows that sort of character so well. It doesn't aim too high in movie terms, it just deals with its tight little story, while saying alot about the world the main characters inhabit and then finishes without too much of a bang. It is neat, classical noir delivered beautifully.

Unfornunately its relative modesty, and an uncommonly good year for movies meant it got no Oscar, it didn't even get a single nom, which is truly bizarre! You can't watch this and say it's unnoticable! One of those slightly smaller Hollywood movies that seems to get more worthy as the years go by, and earns its classic status better than many of the bigger more celebrated films of the era. The sharp acting and screenplay and the buzzing New York vibe make sure of that.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 Aug. 2010
Format: DVD
If proof were needed that the Oscar system has ever and always been as flawed as a fake diamond, the fact that this American classic gained not one nomination should provide it. Not even James Wong Howe`s stunning night-time photography, dripping with shadowy menace; not Alexander MacKendrick`s tight, unshowy direction, or Clifford Odets & Ernest Lehman`s audaciously literate, biting screenplay; no, not even Burt Lancaster`s clipped, mournful hauteur as top-of-the-heap gossip columnist JJ Hunsecker, as he destroys lives and longs for his sister`s love, himself destroyed as she leaves...but Oscar`s most indefensible omission was the perennially underrated Tony Curtis, whose pitch-perfect performance as Sidney Falco - weaselly press agent constantly on the make - in this shattering masterpiece is as deftly charming, beautifully modulated in word and gesture, and as `right` as any acting I`ve ever seen in any film anywhere.
(Critics such as David Mamet, Clive James & David Thomson have trumpeted the talent of Tony Curtis, but don`t take their word for it. See him again in Some Like It Hot, where he outshines the frenetic Jack Lemmon; or Insignificance, or The Boston Strangler - maybe not a great movie, but TC`s just fine in it.)
This has the rare distinction of being a genuine film noir about eight years after the genre had outgrown itself (White Heat being, perhaps, its last top-of-the-world hurrah) and for me it snaps at the heels of Citizen Kane and other such cinematic sacred cows as, say, Red River or Vertigo as candidate for the greatest American film.
Other reviewers here have, in fluent fashion, gone into more detail about the film itself, so I won`t offer a reprise, merely to urge anyone who hasn`t seen this stunning, breathless yet articulate film to beg, steal or hustle a copy as soon as you can. There is genius at work here.
In the words of JJ Hunsecker: `I love this dirty town.`
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